STAR TREK-The Original Series



To begin with, this story was the suggestion of someone else. This is dedicated to Conrado A. Bermudez (aka Queco Jones)... I hope you enjoy it.

SUMMARY: In an unexpected turn of events, Ambassador T'yshen spends some time with Captain Picard on Kavifemai.

DISCLAIMER: The Great Bird of the Galaxy created "The Universe" that we play in. Paramount owns "The Universe" that we play in. They will have all the monetary gain and the headaches... we will have all the fun!

"A Loaf of Bread, a Jug of Wine and Thine..."

by Gayle Rochefort-Potts

August 1999

*****On the surface of Kavifemai...

Captain Jean-Luc Picard stood watching the water lapping at the shore. He had even taken his shoes off to enjoy the feel of the warm sand on his feet. He had planned on being here for four days... that was three days ago and in another three he would have to leave.

He could not believe that he had ended up farming while he was here. He smiled slightly as he moved his hands into the pockets of his loose fitting pants. "Unbelievable." he muttered.

The Enterprise, under Commander Riker's command, was off on a routine mapping mission. A warp capable shuttle had been left for the captain's use should he be needed. That was how he had gained the extra time and he had discovered, to his surprise, that he needed the off-duty time. He had been pleasantly surprised when he had slept in on only his second morning here.

He glanced down at the stains on his pants and shook his head. He hadn't done this since before he was a cadet and that was... he sighed. "A long time ago." His attention was caught by birds as they flew over head. Very large wingspan and graceful. He followed the path of a discarded feather as it traveled towards him. It landed a few feet from him, he reached over and picked it up. The pale tinged feathers darkened in colour to a brilliant deep green at the tips. This had given them the name of Bloodwings. They dove into the water, disappeared for a few seconds then came up and flew off with their prize.

It all began quite innocently on board the Enterprise. They were walking along the corridor and T'yshen turned to him and asked if he would care to take his shore leave on Kavifemai. He saw no reason not to. They were heading there to drop her off and the next mission was a mapping survey four light years away from the system. He heard himself agreeing to it before he even had a chance to really think about it. When he returned to his quarters, he contacted Riker concerning the matter and it was Riker that suggested the shuttle and the extended leave.

He remembered going to bed wondering why his crew was trying to get rid of him? He also knew that he was not big on shore leaves and he would occasionally put his off until he was forced to take them.

He drew in a deep breath and wondered how hard it would be to go back to the scheduled days he had left behind.


Picard turned, "Jean-Luc, we agreed." then smiled. "The emergency is over?"

T'yshen stopped beside him. "Yes." She watched the same birds as he did for a moment. "The infant will live. The lungs have developed sufficiently."

"Good, glad to hear it."

"I trust you managed to find any items or food you required?" The sudden call in the very early hours had taken her out of the unit before the sun even had risen.

"Yes, thank you." Picard watched her for a moment as she watched the birds. He had wondered how she was coping with being alone, and he was learning that she just stayed busy and active just as he did. "You must be tired."

"I had a normal rest cycle." She moved a short distance away from him. "I trust that my activities did not disturb your rest."

"No, not at all. I was awake only long enough to realize that you were moving around and then I drifted off to sleep again."

"Your assistance with the vineyard is most appreciated." She had not thought that a harmless comment made would have stirred this much interest in him. She had, during one of their discussions, asked him how one went about growing the grapes for the wine. He had given her a detailed step-by-step accounting of the process then guided her down into the hydroponics lab to show her a sampling of the plants. Before she knew it he had arranged for some plants made available to her and he had stated that he was even willing to supervise.

In the end, he had done more than merely supervise. He had helped in the physical planting, and with the construction of the supports that were required. He had also arranged for the hydroponics lab to turn over all their vines, stating that it would be quite simple to replenish them on their next lay over. He had stated that he would arrange for more plants to be transported here on the next available vessel.

"It was a pleasure, I assure you." Picard turned to pick up his shoes that he had dropped in the sand. He shook out the sand that had found its way into them before slipping them on. "It has been a long time since I did anything like that." He had been in the vineyard for most of the morning. "They seemed to be doing well so far. The underground irrigation and the filtration system tested well within the specifications."

"I had walked by the field. Most of the plants appear to have some indication of growth." She noted the stain on his pants. "The coveralls were not available to you?" She gestured towards the walkway, an unspoken suggestion.

Picard smiled then nodded. "I was walking along, not really planning on doing any gardening... I assure you." He turned with her as they headed back to the housing units. "... and then I noticed a few plants had been dislodged."

"No doubt the sehlats. We will have to fence in the area until they learn."

"I fixed the few that I had seen, then found myself walking along the rows checking the plants and before I knew it, I was digging and breaking off the dead pieces." He chuckled. "Mama would always say that I was not able to stay clean for very long." He looked down at his clothing. "Perhaps she was right. Even now."

"You enjoyed your time?" She accepted his human need for her to precede him as they passed through the narrow walkway.


"You sound surprised."

"I guess I am... a little." He reached to open the gate into the garden surrounding her housing unit. "How is your patience for teaching me that building game you were telling me about?"

"I have no doubt that it will not take you long to learn. The mastery of the kal-toh is another matter." She stepped into the housing unit, placed her medical bag in its customary place and both headed into the kitchen. "You wish end-meal now?"

"If you are eating as well." Picard smiled. "I hate eating alone. I do that quite enough on board ship."

She bowed her head. "As you wish, Captain."

Picard went to the cooling unit and pulled out the leftovers from the night before. "I thought we settled on you addressing me as 'Jean-Luc'."


Picard nodded. She even managed to pronounce his name with the soft French inflections. "Good. Now that that is settled." He turned to the bottle of wine that had been left in the cooling unit. "Tonight we share this." He opened the seal and then asked if she had a corkscrew. "If not I have one in my kit bag." He smiled at her raised eyebrow. "A habit I am afraid that I have not broken. If I bring a bottle of wine, I toss the corkscrew in the bag."

T'yshen produced the ancient looking device from the drawer. "Carl enjoyed wine occasionally."

Picard continued the process of opening the bottle. "Do you miss him?"

She hesitated with her answer, "Yes." She continued dishing out the meal onto the plates that would be heated. "Do you not wish for the companionship of a consort?"

"I have my command."

She lifted an eyebrow in disbelief. "Is this the belief of all captains or just ones that command the Enterprise?"

Picard pulled the cork out with a pop. He tilted his head as he thought about it a moment then smiled. "The tendency seems to be with the captains of the Enterprise."

"I am not surprised, Jean-Luc."


Picard shifted his position in the chair as he studied the arrangement of t'an sticks. He had been studying this kah-toh puzzle for almost ten minutes. He was balancing the glass of wine on the arm of the chair and would occasionally lift it to his mouth for a sip.

He looked up to her. "You are certain there is a spot for this."

"Most assuredly. Do you wish assistance?"

Picard shook his head. He drank down more wine then saw the opening. He leaned forward placed the small t'an stick in place and jumped as the figure took on a solid look to it.

T'yshen bowed her head. "Fourteen hours. Definitely shorter than the last." She drained the remainder of her wine. "Another?"

Picard shook his head. "I don't think I could sit any longer." He looked out the near-by window. They had spent eighteen hours playing the day before then talked until all hours and finally slept. "A walk?"

T'yshen bowed her head. She moved the kal-toh game onto the shelf just above the table, beside the chessboard. She picked up the glasses placed them in the sink then joined him at the door. "Do you wish to see any area in particular?"

"No. Just a walk." He motioned for her to precede him, then they began heading quite by habit towards the beach. It was about a five-minute walk before they would reach it but they were heading in that general direction.

"Do you wish to see the arena?" She remembered that she had offered to show it to him the previous day ut with the emergency the day's plans had not been followed.

"Another time. I would rather see the cove you were telling me about."

T'yshen nodded once then altered their direction slightly along a different pathway, one that lead along the row of housing units.

They walked along at an easy pace, talking occasionally about duties and the people they knew. Many people were out, children playing, others walking and T'yshen took the time to greet most of them with a slight nod of her head.

"In spite of the fact that Vulcans have been a part of the Federation for some time, I can't help but notice how some of their behaviours are common." Picard stated as they stepped from the walkway onto a well-worn dirt path.

"You believe the Vulcans to be un-common?"

Picard smiled. "I suppose that with the limited exposure I have had with Vulcans has been the ambassadors and the officers that seem to be," He paused searching for the correct word. "... for lack of a better word ... the elite." He stepped down as she did onto a lower level of path and then followed her through the trees. "Yourself, Sarek, Spock all are the best examples and, of course, the Vulcans that have become Starfleet personnel. None of the 'common' people."

"It is a somewhat limited selection of the Vulcan people." She moved along the wide stone ledge that would lead to the cove itself. "What is it that you wish to know?"

"Nothing specifically." He stepped onto the sand that belonged to this small out of the way place. "An observation only." He took in the scenery before he continued. "It is very peaceful here." He noted that it could have been taken from a travel poster. He smiled at that thought. All the most desired elements all in one place. Trees that would provide some privacy, the sand and the calm water that reflected the moons quite nicely. He stood beside her, hands clasped behind him both watching the water, lost in their own thoughts.

T'yshen was not certain what had caused her to turn to face him, or who had moved first. She felt his arms pull her close and sensed his surprise along with her own. His lips were soft against hers and tasted of the wine they had enjoyed earlier. She had taken a step towards him as her hands ran up his arms and one hand rested on the back of his neck. Her other hand touched the side of his face, brushing the contact points.

Picard pulled her closer as the kiss deepened. As she moved closer, he could not stop his low moan as her fingers rested against his face. A feather light touch, but there was a familiarity in it. 'Nonsense' he thought to himself.

She moved her hands to rest on his shoulders then slid them up to cup his face, her lips moved along his jaw and then down his neck. She wrapped her arms around his neck, her mouth resting against his shoulder as she tried to find her control.

He turned his head slightly and kissed her neck. He traced the shape of her ear with his finger then he moved her hair back. He touched his lips to her neck and for the first time realized how warm she actually was. He kissed her neck where it joined with her shoulder. He rested his head on her shoulder, his eyes were closed and his breathing deep.

He felt that he had to say something. His thoughts were not in order enough to make a coherent thought, let alone find the right words. What were the right words? 'I'm sorry?' But he wasn't. He also had the distinct feeling that would be the wrong thing to say.

He slid his hands into hers then whispered the suggestion that they sit down. T'yshen agreed and sat in the warm sand. She caressed his arm for a moment, resting her hand close to the bend in his arm.

Picard drew her into his arms and his hand rubbed her back gently, almost absently. He drew in a breath preparing to say something to her but he drew a blank and sighed. His eyes closed and he chose silence instead.

T'yshen was urged to rest her head against his shoulder, his hand had begun to comb slowly through her hair. He was not the only one to be caught off guard with these reactions. She had also felt an unexpected degree of comfort and trust with him.

He felt her lift her head from his shoulder. He opened his eyes and met hers. Her hand moved to the back of his neck and she drew him closer. He tasted her lips again. The tip of her tongue touched his lip, no further encouragement was needed as he captured her mouth.

Her fingers moved to the side of his head pressing lightly against the contact points that would allow her to read his thoughts. Not a meld a sharing that would go any deeper than he wished it to. She felt the urgency in his kiss and in the way he held her. He held her close as he lay back in the sand with her.

Picard pulled her across him letting her rest her head against his arm. He had hoped that the warm sand would stop the slight shivering he felt from her. He held her chin, his fingers brushed against her lips. He was still searching for the words he wanted to share with her.

She caressed his face with the back of her hand then traced his ear with her fingertip. She felt his breathing deepen. Her hand moved down his chest then rested at his waist.

"Why do I have the impression that I have been waiting a long time for this?" He spoke softly, with a slight frown appearing on his brow.

"I do not know." T'yshen had closed her eyes.

"Its getting dark, we should head back."

"If you wish." She started to sit up but was stopped. She relaxed into his embrace. She accepted his gentle kiss then tipped her head back as he made a trail of kisses down her neck. She sighed softly. "I am assuming that you do not wish to leave?"

Picard smiled then kissed her mouth. "I am not sure what I want." He looked around for a moment. If only they had brought a blanket. If only he had even considered this, at all, he would have been more prepared. "I don't really want to stay here but I am afraid that if we move..." he hesitated, "... the moment will be lost."

She had been around Humans enough to understand his meaning. She caressed his face with her fingertips, slowly running her fingers over every feature then ending with her hand caressing his head, the back of his neck, "It will not..." then pulling him into a kiss.


T'yshen watched Jean-Luc sleep.

She had not been surprised that he was proficient, but she suspected that he had been surprised that she was so educated in her knowledge of human pleasures, in spite of her bonding to a human. She had also touched on his fleeting thoughts of how 'human' she seemed to be.

Being 'alien' conjured up the most interesting perceptions in some people and she had found that the less exposed they were to 'aliens', the more elaborate their perception was of what one would be like.

She had been unexpected of his acceptance to come here and more so when the extensions on his leave were made. He had spoken to Commander Riker only yesterday and informed him that he would not be meeting the ship, he would wait for the Enterprise to return. This added another forty-two hours to his stay.

The time she had spent on the Enterprise was enjoyable. The trip to Deep Space Station Nine had been a little awkward at first. This was the first time she had traveled totally alone. She had not even accepted Sycek's assistance, stating that all the work had been done. If the agreement was not acceptable she could make any necessary alterations on her own. She had served as Sarek's aide long enough.

The truth be known she did not want anyone around her that would remind her of Sarek. The meld with him had been deep and anyone that close to him, at that point in time, would have known of the 'inappropriateness' of their sharing.

She had discovered that Jean-Luc had melded with Sarek and retained a great deal from the sharing. She considered that perhaps this was the reason for the sharing with this human. She had dismissed it... but this could have been a factor as she shared her passions with Jean-Luc. There had been a moment that she felt almost as if Sarek were there. And there was the comment from Jean-Luc about feeling as if he had waited a long time... had this been Sarek's desire or Jean-Luc's? She was not certain it was something that should even have been mentioned.

She felt the stirring from his thoughts, he was waking. The surface meld they had shared would diminsh by the end of the day.

Picard shifted his body slightly as he drifted up from the deep sleep. Something felt different. The room was darker than usual and the covers seemed heavier. He drew in a breath and noted that even the smell of the room was different. He moved his arm and bumped against a very warm body. He turned his head quickly. He smiled. "Good morning." He hadn't dreamt it. He turned under the covers to face his company in the bed.

"You slept well I trust?"

"Yes, very much so." Picard reached over and brushed back her hair, his fingers caressed her cheek then lifted her chin slightly. "I trust you did so as well?"

Her head bowed slightly. "I did not sleep, I meditated, it serves the same purpose."

"Good." His fingers and hand continued to caress her skin, slowly moving down her neck, her arms then down the center of her body. His hand moved back up and cupped her breast, he bent his head to tease just her nipple with his tongue and lips.

T'yshen closed her eyes and concentrated on his touch. She knew from the night before that he would watch the path his hand traveled. He took great pleasure in just the touches and the pleasures that were awakened.

His kisses moved slowly back up to capture her mouth, his hand had caressed her side then down the back of her thigh, his hand lifted her leg then wrapped it around his waist. His hand moved up the back of her leg then up her back and under her hair to her neck. He pulled her to him, his other arm wrapped around her as he held her close and rolled onto his back. The kiss continued unbroken then deepened and became passionate.

He held her, her breasts spread against his chest, one hand clenched into the warm silk of her hair and his craving for her caused his body to ache. He felt her hands curl around his waist then move slowly up his back. He could feel the tension in her body and her restraint because of her strength. Her arms were now wrapped around his back, her hands at the back of his neck.

He had only a few days more and he had every intention of spending it as close as possible to her. "If anyone, you would cause me to rethink my loyalties to my captaincy." His lips brushed her neck just below her ear as he whispered the words. He kissed her then rested his lips against her pulse point. She was so alien to him and so familiar at the same time.

"Your thoughts honour me, Jean-Luc." She combed her fingernails through his short hair at the back of his head. She moved closer to him pulling herself tighter against him. She felt his hardness against her stomach and she sensed his hunger. She kissed his lips then moved down his neck and onto his shoulder. Her lips brushed his shoulder, her tongue reaching out tasting his warming skin.

She knew a joining with him was impossible. He was Human, if duty did not take him then his short life span would. She still had almost half of her life to live. She did not want to be left alone again. She would rather live her life alone. She had thought that her choice in Spock would give her a bondmate for life, not only for the few years she had shared with him.

She allowed him to dominate the activities this time, she knew he required this contact more than she did. Her enjoyment of his attentions would be no less than the previous. She held her breath at his touch on her stomach, his lips touched her following the same path his hands and his fingers made. She moaned softly as her hands caressed the smoothness of his head. She bit lightly on her bottom lip as his mouth moved lower.

He loved the warmth of her body, and the difference in her taste. She had a great deal of control and seemed to be able to match her arousal with his own. He had discovered that he seemed to know instictively what she wished. He wondered if that was part of the purpose to the mental sharing. He had heard the rumor that once one shared in this manner that to return to 'just' the physical pleasures would not be enough.

He moved back up beside her on the pillow then caressed her arm down to hold her hand. He moved onto his back then with his other hand used two fingers and stroked her palm.

T'yshen curled her hand tightly then sat up. She stared at his expression.

He had felt his breathing quicken then it was as if he was suddenly another person. He sat up then pulled her close to him. He nuzzled her neck then held her face. He pulled her back down with him then pressed their bodies together. He rolled her over onto her back then entered her slowly.

She whispered his name and then ran her hands down his back. His lips brushed her shoulder then moved to her mouth. She pressed her hips against his helping him to move deeper into her.

He moaned, his body suddenly released the warm fluid into her. His lips brushed her neck then he whispered close to her ear. "Kup-ashaya ek'wak."

"Kroykah." She whispered as she moved apart from him, pushing him away. Far too soon for either of their desires. She studied his eyes, as she pulled the covers up around herself and shivered. She frowned. "Why did you say this?" She asked in a breath.

Jean-Luc sat up dumb-founded.

"Do you know what you are saying?" She was still in shock from the words. There had been only one that had used that phrase on her and had whispered it in her ear. She closed her eyes for a moment.

He held his head in his hands and tried to search for the answer. He found nothing, not even a hint of what was meant. He only knew that there was something inside of him that made him say it. He had had the impression that she wanted to hear it as well. A forgotten phrase perhaps?

He lifted his head and for the first time saw a type of fear in a Vulcan's eyes.

"Why, Jean-Luc?" She felt her voice almost fail. She moved further apart from him, gathering the top blanket around her.

"I don't know." He wanted to comfort her, to ease her fears but he felt her shielding against him. His touches were the one thing she would not welcome at the moment. He laid back, covering his eyes then sighed trying to calm the panic he was feeling. "Perhaps a phrasing I picked up with the meld... with Spock."

".. or Sarek." Her hand covered her mouth after she whispered the words as if she could stop them. She slipped from the bed and moved to stand in front of the window. Why had she said anything? Her control had been slipping horribly the last few years. Perhaps age was beginning to claim her.

Jean-Luc frowned. That wasn't a logical train of thought. Why would Sarek have been the one she associated with a Vulcan phrasing. He looked to her. "What does it mean?"

"You do not know?" She was genuinely surprised that he had even uttered the phrase. She suspected that he had not understood the meaning, "To be able to love forever." It was Sarek's wish or promise, she was not certain. The reflection in the glass of Jean-Luc's expression was enough to convince her that he had no idea of its meaning. Sarek had whispered it to her, she remembered how his lips had brushed her ear... his only indiscretion.

He pulled the covers over his body. He sat up slowly. "I don't understand, Yshen. Why would you associate that phrase with Sarek?" He had begun his own mental search for the answers.

She closed her eyes tightly and willed herself not to think of react to what she was feeling. Her body shivered and she closed her hands into fists. She had betrayed a trust!

"No." He whispered understanding her withdraw from him. He slipped on his pants then moved closer and tried to gather her into his arms.

"Do not." She stated coldly then stepped away from him pulling the blanket tighter in around her.

"Its okay. I'm here. You're safe." He rubbed his hand up and down her back. His other hand busy trying to brush back her hair. He continued to touch her to comfort her.

She moved from him. She did not want his touch for the moment. She found the calm and the strength to speak about what she had promised would never be spoken about. But under these circumstances, it was unavoidable. "We found, when I first served as his aide that we had a natural connection to one another."

"But he was bonded to Amanda?"

"Yes. He was." She fell silent for a moment. "And then I bonded with Spock. Spock died. Carl and I bonded..."

"And then Amanda died."

"Yes, then he found Perrin."

"Then Carl died."

"Before his death..." Picard was beginning to understand.

"When you came to see him, he and I had been working with the acolyte to preserve his katra. His emotions were in a turmoil. So strong that the acolyte found it distasteful to be in the same room with him." She wrapped her arms around herself. "I melded with Sarek to finish the transfer. To preserve his katra. He did not wish to separate himself." She turned to Jean-Luc to touch his face, then her fingers draw a line down his face. "He wanted to be calm and controlled for a time. He was so tired. He wanted so much to be... Vulcan."

"In control." Picard stated.


"Understandable." Picard lifted his hand wrapping his fingers around hers. His lips brushed against her fingertips.

She withdrew her hand suddenly then turned away from him.

He watched her for a moment then stepped back. He gathered up his shirt from the floor and headed back to his room. He would pack and leave as soon as he could. He did not want to cause her any pain in the least. He had not even imagined that there would have been any relationship between the two. No hint anything, in all the thoughts that he had shared with the Ambassador. Some thought however had found its way to the surface. He wanted only to speak the words to her, an overwhelming desire to and then to brush her ear with his lips.

"Well, that put an end to things quickly." He mumbled softly to himself.

He packed his belongings with a practiced ease, laying out his uniform and then with a sudden burst of anger, slammed the case shut. He touched his fingers to his forehead and sighed. What ever was beginning between them had come to an abrupt halt. He shook himself then continued into the shower.

He set the controls for the temperature he wanted then set it a few degrees higher. Comfort was not something he wanted right now. He slipped his clothes off again then stepped into the stall. The water came on and the warmth of the water beat against him.

'Sarek...' He spoke to the thoughts that he had shared with the Vulcan. 'Why did you not give me even a hint of this...' He sighed again then soaped up his body, not expecting an answer in the least. "I never would have come here."

He breathed in the scent of the herbal soap and another impression invaded his thoughts ... his own this time. The first time he stood close enough to detect her scent, at a conference many years ago, it was this soap. He looked to the green mottled bar that fit perfectly in his hand then threw it across the room. He stood for a time allowing the water to rinse the soap and hopefully the scent from him.

"This is ridiculous." He muttered then turned off the shower and dried himself off. In no time he was closing the opening on his uniform. He picked up the suitcase and placed it by the door. No matter what, he could not simply leave without speaking to her. This was going to be difficult. It would also be quite rude.

T'yshen had dressed and was making tea when she heard his footfalls. She turned and was not really surprised that he was in uniform.

She bowed her head marginally, "It is not necessary that you take your leave."

He stared at her for a moment then looked to the floor. He felt lost for a moment, she was not behaving the way he had expected her to, but he was not certain what he had expected either. He lifted his head and met her eyes. "I think it might be."

"As you wish, Jean-Luc." She bowed her head in acceptance of his decision. "Perhaps time could be made to share tea before you leave?"

He hesitated. "I am certain there is time for that." He moved into the eating area then sat at the table. He watched as she poured out the different scented tea. "The blend?" He accepted the tall glass cup.

"Master's tea." She poured out her own then sat down opposite Jean-Luc.

"I feel that an apology is in order."

"There is no need." She spoke softly. "It was disquieting, nothing more."

"No doubt." Picard sipped on the tea. He leaned back in the chair, one hand remained on the cup as he studied it. "A very interesting taste." He had been enjoying this shore leave immensely and did not want it to end it with such an awkwardness. Up to a hour ago, he had even had the fleeting thought that he would, at his earliest convenience, return to T'yshen. He had never had someone that he wanted to be with as much as he had with her.

He had also begun to feel the uncertainty of his own desires. Were they his? Or were they Sarek's? He cleared his throat. "My plans were to return to the vessel in six hours, I see no reason to change them."

"I am pleased." She stood. "Do you wish something to eat? I could prepare a first meal."

Picard lifted his head. "Not unless you are eating as well." Could they save a little of the feelings they had shared? Or was all of it jaded from the accidental words that had tumbled from his mouth.

"Some fruit and bread, perhaps?"

Picard nodded then smiled. "Do you have anymore of the kessa fruit?"

"Yes and the tangerines you enjoyed so much." She moved into the kitchen and began the preparations. She was pleased that he was not leaving under such a misunderstanding. She had been unaware that he had shared so much so long ago with Sarek. There was no reason to know, not until the final sharing with him. Sarek had allowed every thought to flow through her as she committed it all to memory.

She was startled by his touch on her shoulder.

"I am sorry I did not mean..."

"I was lost in thought. Forgive my inattention to you as my guest." She bowed her head.

He lifted her chin. "Did you need any help?"

"No. All is completed." She indicated the large bowl with the yellow and purple fruit sections and the smaller more familiar sections on top of that.

"Then I will take this and you can bring the bread." He picked up the bowl before she could say any more. He placed the bowl on the table then slipped off his uniform jacket and dropped it on the back of the chair.

She carried the bread and the knife through and watched as he poured out more tea then reached for the napkin. He sipped on the tea then reached for a slice of bread as she sat down.

They ate in silence for a few minutes unsure of what to talk about.

"You will, no doubt, be relieved to return to your duty?" She pulled apart the bread then ate a small piece of fruit, the crumbs fell into her lap onto the napkin.

"M-m-m, in part. It will seem very lonely." He placed the half eaten bread on his plate then reached for another slice of the kessa fruit.

T'yshen put the fruit and bread down. "I never had the impression that you were lonely." She tilted her head slightly.

He swallowed the fruit then licked the remainder of the juice from his lips. "Neither did I." He smiled more to himself then leaned back. He studied her for a moment. Was this that he felt for her not his own feelings? How would he ever be sure or even know... he decided to take a chance at something. "Come aboard with me. For a short time. Use it to increase your medical knowledge. Help me with my diplomatic endeavors." He sat forward, the napkin was held tightly in his hand being crushed.

T'yshen lifted an eyebrow. He was being most insistent on this, at least for him. "Your diplomatic skills are excellent, you will learn nothing from me." She placed her food onto the plate, her napkin was gathered so as not to spill the crumbs and placed on the table. "As for my medical skills... They are adequate for the uses here."

Picard reached across holding her hand in his. "Then come because I wish your company." He held her hand firmly, his thumb caressing the back of her hand. "A month." He moved to the edge of his seat. "More..." He waved his other hand showing his uncertainty. "Less if you want." He squeezed her hand once then released it. He sat back in the chair, his hands steepled and he rested his chin on his folded hands. "Forgive me, Yshen. I should not even be asking this of you."

"None is required, Jean-Luc." She looked to her hand holding the napkin, then the hand that he had held. She lifted her eyes to meet his. "I will need time to make arrangements."

Jean-Luc nodded, not quite believing that she was agreeing to this! "Of course, take whatever time you need."

She smiled ever so slightly. "You are required to leave in less than five hours to rendez-vous with the Enterprise. I can take no longer than that."

Jean-Luc smiled. "As you wish." The meaning settled with him. "Then you are coming?"

"I never stated that." She added quickly.

"No you did not." He watched her eyes, anyone that told him Vulcans did not have a sense of humor had not met the Vulcans he had. And this one loved to tease.


Journal entry:

'I am home. Of all the time that I have spent on ships, I definitely prefer to be planetside.

'He caught me. Jean-Luc of all people caught me laughing. We were in 10-Forward. It was something that had been said and then I left and hid in the near-by observation deck before I lost all of my decorum. He followed me. He has promised not to reveal the fact.

'I look back at the entries that I have made for the past two months and I realize that I have a t'hy'la. A friend. We spent a great deal of time together despite his duty. He has an excellent crew.

'I was able to be of assistance shortly after I arrived. There had been an accident and the injuries were numerous but not too severe. I was pressed into service and enjoyed it immensely. I was surprised when he came to the sickbay in the middle of the triage but Dr. Crusher's reaction was that it was not out of the ordinary.

'Two days ago, we had dinner. He insisted that it be with all the frills, as he said. I was fortunate that I packed my gown. He wore his formal uniform. Candlelight and his company made for an excellent send off. And he dances well.

'His touch was gentle and time was taken that night. We did not meld. We did not need a ghost of something that could never be between us.

'I believe he was still surprised I had returned to the vessel with him. He even teased and stated that the reason he had another crewmember to accompany us was to prevent him from staying again.

'He did stay long enough however to check on the vineyard. He has promised to return when we produce our first batch of wine. I have promised him the first bottle.'

T'yshen closed the book. She had unpacked, showered and was now feeling that home was the perfect place to be. She stood and walked across the room to the bed, sat down. She pulled the pillow out from under the covers and hugged it and realized that she was alone again.


Continued in Tome Seven "Shadows of Time"

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